By Carolyn Henderson
the Times 

Art In Your Life

Talk about art


January 9, 2020

Courtesy photo

There is an art to living.

Now if we want to, we can limit ourselves to being very "scientific" about it, describing life as the process of breathing, of specific physiological procedures taking place when and how they should. Under a microscope, life wraps around molecules and cells, hormones, energy consumption, chemistry, entropy and a host of other factors students encounter in textbooks and the general populace reads about in newspapers, blogs, and internet sites.

If there's any mystery about life, consumer science propounds, it won't remain that way for long, because we humans (the brilliant ones) will figure it out.

But life is deeper and broader, wider and more profound than something that can be observed, noted, described, classified, studied, and neatly docketed. The unseen elements of life, the ones you can't touch or probe, the soul of it are quite mysterious, perplexing, enigmatic. It is for this reason that philosophers – people who ask deep questions and spend their lives looking for answers (all humans can do this!) – exist through human history.

Love, compassion, acceptance, understanding, empathy – these elements of life are what soften its harshness, give hope to those struggling, add sweetness to situations that are bitter. Unlike giraffes or goats, humans have the capacity to put ourselves in others' shoes, to feel what they feel, and to do something about it.

"I want to make a difference in the world," many people say. "I want to use what gifts, abilities, and advantages I have to do good things."

Why? Logically, reasonably, rationally, the most effective attitude to have is to look out for number one, to make sure that we are the fittest, and we will not only survive, but thrive over others. Some human beings do live by this creed, to the detriment of those around them and, ultimately, to their own as well.

But others remain aware of life's surprises, its twists and turns that leave even the strongest prone to misfortune, and they give without any expectation of receiving in return.

"That could be me," they say, "or my daughter, my son, my father, mother, sister, brother, cousin, grandparents, friend. I would want someone to help them if they could."

There's an art to thinking this way-a sense of imagination, creativity, and appreciation for beauty. May 2020 be a year in which many people explore and finesse this art.

At Wenaha Gallery (219 E. Main, Dayton), we are conducting our Annual Canned Food Drive, with all proceeds benefiting the Dayton Community Food Bank. Gallery owners Ed and Pat Harris started this tradition years ago (they don't remember how many) as a way to infuse a bit of light and joy into the grey days of January. Through January 31, they offer $2 off your next custom framing job, for every non-perishable food item you bring in, up to 20 percent off total.

The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.


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